Acceptance and commitment therapy training

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a widely recognised and evidence-based approach to psychotherapy that focuses on developing psychological flexibility and promoting meaningful behaviour change. Training provides mental health professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively apply the principles and techniques of ACT in their practice, enhancing therapeutic skills, fostering psychological flexibility and creating more positive client outcomes. If this is a new concept to you, visit our What is ACT? page for a brief introduction and background.

The essential components of ACT therapy training:

acceptance & commitment therapy training essentialsTheoretical foundation:

ACT training provides a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the approach. Trainees learn about the six core processes of ACT, including acceptance, cognitive defusion, present-moment awareness, self-as-context, values clarification, and committed action. Understanding these processes enables therapists to apply ACT techniques effectively and tailor interventions to individual clients.

Mindfulness and acceptance:

ACT training emphasises the cultivation of mindfulness skills and acceptance-based practices. Trainees learn to help clients develop a non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, fostering a compassionate and accepting attitude towards their experiences. This enhances clients’ ability to tolerate discomfort and reduces experiential avoidance, paving the way for psychological growth and well-being.

Cognitive defusion:

ACT training equips therapists with cognitive defusion techniques that help clients distance themselves from unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. Through various exercises, therapists assist clients in observing their thoughts as transient mental events rather than absolute truths. This promotes greater cognitive flexibility, allowing clients to respond more adaptively to challenging situations.

Values clarification:

ACT emphasises the identification and clarification of personal values. ACT training equips therapists with tools and techniques to help clients explore their deeply held values and align their actions with those values. This process empowers clients to live a more authentic and meaningful life, providing a compass for decision-making and behaviour change.


The benefits of ACT training:

  • Psychological flexibility:

    ACT training enhances therapists’ ability to facilitate psychological flexibility in their clients. By cultivating mindfulness, acceptance, and defusion skills, therapists can help clients develop a more flexible relationship with their thoughts and emotions. This promotes adaptive coping strategies, resilience, and the ability to engage in valued actions even in the presence of challenging internal experiences.

  • Targeting treatment resistance:

    ACT training equips therapists with strategies to address treatment resistance effectively. By focusing on acceptance and values-driven action, ACT helps individuals embrace their difficulties rather than avoiding or suppressing them. This shift in perspective can be particularly beneficial for clients who have not responded well to traditional therapeutic approaches.

  • Taking a transdiagnostic approach:

    ACT training offers a transdiagnostic framework that can be applied to a wide range of psychological disorders and issues. Rather than focusing on specific diagnostic categories, ACT addresses the underlying processes that contribute to psychological distress. This flexibility allows therapists to adapt their interventions to suit the unique needs and presentations of their clients.

  • Building a therapeutic alliance:

    ACT training emphasises the importance of the therapeutic relationship. By fostering a collaborative and non-judgmental environment, therapists build a strong therapeutic alliance that supports client engagement and personal growth. The emphasis on empathy, acceptance, and values alignment enhances the therapeutic relationship and contributes to positive client outcomes.

act therapy training in progress

Training equips mental health professionals with the necessary skills to effectively implement Acceptance and Commitment Therapy into their practice. By understanding the theoretical foundations and utilising techniques such as mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion, and values clarification, therapists promote psychological flexibility and enhance their therapeutic effectiveness. ACT’s transdiagnostic approach and focus on the therapeutic alliance make it a valuable tool for a wide range of clients and issues. As therapists continue to integrate core principles into their practice through training and ongoing professional development, they contribute to better client outcomes and the promotion of psychological well-being.

Live workshops & on-demand ACT training

Contextual Consulting ACT therapy training runs throughout the year with live online workshops and on-demand training so you can learn in your own time and at your own pace. Our workshops range from beginner through to advanced, and from short sessions to multi-session courses.

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